Lawrence Reynolds, who was scheduled to be executed on October 8 in Ohio, received a stay today (Oct. 5) from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The court’s stay was based on unresolved issues in Ohio’s lethal injection protocol that were brought to the surface by the unsuccessful execution of Romell Broom on September 15. The majority wrote: “These disturbing issues give rise to at least two questions: first, whether Ohio is fully and competently adhering to the Ohio lethal injection protocol given (a) their failure to have a contingency plan in place should peripheral vein access be impossible, (b) issues related to the competence of the lethal injection team, and (c) other potential deficiencies; and second, whether these instances present sufficient new, additional factors to revive Reynolds’ Eighth Amendment claims otherwise extinguished by Cooey II (an earlier lethal injection challenge).”

In his concurring opinion, Judge Cole noted that Ohio cannot undertake another execution until it has been resolved whether “Broom has already suffered an Eighth Amendment violation by being subjected to this failed execution attempt. Even if Reynolds’ execution similarly was halted partway through, at that point he already may have suffered constitutional harm under Ohio’s protocol. Although the details of the failed Broom execution have not yet fully emerged, the initial reports suggest that the execution attempt could provide uniquely relevant evidence in support of the proposition that there is a ‘demonstrated risk of severe pain’ under the revised Ohio protocol. See Baze v. Rees, —U.S. —, 128 S.Ct. 1520, 1537 (2008).”

Following the stay granted by the Sixth Circuit, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland issued a formal stay of execution for both Reynolds, until March 9, 2010, and Darryl Durr, until April 20, 2010. Other reprieves may be granted if the lethal injection issue is still unresolved.

(Reynolds v. Strickland, No. 08-4144, (Order granting stay, 6th Cir. Oct. 5, 2009); see also “Governor’s Statement Regarding Reprieves,” Press Release, Office of the Governor, Oct. 5, 2009). Read the entire Sixth Circuit Opinion here. See DPIC’s pages on Lethal Injections and the case of Romell Broom.